The triggers you use will vary widely according to what you’re selling, to whom, and in what medium, but there are 14 that are the most important. Here are the first seven:
Something about scarcity makes people want to have something, even if they weren’t previously interested in it.
For example, we helped boost an eco-resort’s response rate by changing their ad copy to emphasize the rarity of their natural setting and reminding people that such places are vanishing. Which leads us to …
If something can only be had now, people want it before it goes away. In a state political campaign that I worked on, we used “urgency” emails to boost donations right before reporting dates, and it worked very well.
We ended up more than doubling our opponent, and my candidate was a first-timer up against a 20-year incumbent.
Studies show that people will expend more time and effort to keep from losing $10 than they will to get $20 (for example), and this is true across the board.
Tell people what they have to lose by not acting, and you’ll get more response than by telling people what they have to gain by acting.
I knew a guy who sold tires, and if a buyer looked like he was on the fence about a particular tire, he’d say, “I love these. I just put a set on my mom’s car.” More often than not, it worked.
When I write a direct response ad, I always make sure the “voice” is one that people trust.
This is overlooked too often. When people aren’t sure what to do, they look at what others are doing.
For example, one tele-retailer boosted their response rate significantly by changing the standard line,
“Call now! Operators are standing by.” to “Call now! If lines are busy, call back.” You’d think that telling people the lines may be busy would discourage response, but it actually ramps it up because people think, “Boy, this must be popular.”
It’s also why baristas seed their tip jars with coins and bills.
There’s an old saying that’s still true: “Don’t tell me about your grass seed. Tell me about my lawn.” And there’s an important corollary: “Don’t tell me how nice it will look to me; tell me how envious my neighbors will be!”
When business owners write their own ads, they usually rattle on about features, and then wonder why the ads don’t work. It’s because no one cares about features. They care about benefits (“tell me about my lawn”).
But they care even more about solutions. For instance, we saw measurable and significant improvement in response by changing a headline (altering the topic here because the client owns the original language…
…but the strategy is identical) from “Student Loans You Never Have to Pay Back!” to “You Don’t Have to Worry About Paying for College—Student Loans You Never Have to Pay Back!”
Article curated from MOBE